Learning new words and understanding the grammar is just half the battle when learning a language. If you don’t pronounce the words correctly you will find communicating effectively with native speakers difficult which can sometimes lead to confusion and embarrassment. Here are some useful tips on how you can improve your pronunciation and sound like a native Spanish speaker in no time at all!
1. Listen to as much Spanish as possible; download Spanish podcasts online, listen to Spanish television programmes, Spanish music, radio, watch Spanish films. Try to copy the native accent when you speak. Gradually your pronunciation will improve.
2. Spend as much time as you can in a Spanish-speaking country. By immersing yourself in the language every day you will gradually pick up the key different sounds and you will soon be speaking like a true Spaniard.
3. Interact as much as possible with Spanish people. Find a native speaker to practice conversation with. They will help you and point out your mispronunciations. Typical mistakes often involve the confusing “b” and “v” sounds, the use of “ci” and “ce” (-th sound), the “j” and “ge”/”gi” sound and of course the rolling of the “r”. Read aloud a Spanish book or article to them and they will correct you when you start slipping back into the English accent.
4. Record yourself speaking Spanish and play it back. This will help you notice which sounds you need to improve.
5. Spanish is a phonetic language so by learning the alphabet well, especially the vowel sounds, you will find pronouncing words easier. If you are trying to pronounce long words with several syllables, split the word up into separate syllables and start by pronouncing each syllable separately and repeat the word over and over getting faster each time until it sounds natural. Click here to watch a video of the Spanish alphabet with examples of how the letters are pronounced in common words.